South Holston Dam, an earth-and-rockfill dam, has one generating unit that has a net dependable capacity of 44 megawatts. The reservoir has a flood-storage capacity of 252,800 acre-feet.
In 1991, TVA built a weir below South Holston Dam to add oxygen to the river when the hydropower plant isn’t generating electricity. Oxygen-rich water helps create a sustained habitat for aquatic insects, vegetation and fish.
South Holston Reservoir is on the South Fork Holston River in northeast Tennessee. It extends 24 miles east of the dam into Virginia. Construction of the dam began in 1942 but was halted in favor of other wartime construction efforts. Building resumed in 1947 and was completed in 1950.
South Holston is operated for several purposes, including flood damage reduction, power production, aquatic ecology and augmentation of the flow of water during drier periods.
The South Fork Holston River is home to an annual spring migration of white bass. Locals say that when the serviceberry and dogwood bloom, the white bass run.
A footbridge from the parking lot below the dam leads to Osceola Island and its one-mile-loop wildlife trail. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to sight waterfowl, deer and other wildlife.
There is a visitor center installation on site to tell you more about the history of TVA and South Holston, and about TVA's current activities.
South Holston: Facts + Figures
- Construction of South Holston Dam began in 1942 and was completed in 1950.
- The earth-and-rockfill dam is 285 feet high and reaches 1,600 feet across the South Fork Holston River.
- South Holston Dam is a hydroelectric facility. It has one generating unit with a net dependable capacity of 44 megawatts. Net dependable capacity is the amount of power a dam can produce on an average day, minus the electricity used by the dam itself.
- In a year with normal rainfall, the water level in South Holston Reservoir varies about 25 feet from summer to winter to provide seasonal flood storage.
- The reservoir has a flood-storage capacity of 252,800 acre-feet.